her eyes. i look at this most recent picture and i see only her eyes - large and luminous. ebony windows. soul-filled eyes. 21 months of life reflected in this sweet countenance. i am not sure these dark pools provide even a trace of smile. oh, how i long to see laughter there. is wish for the sparkle of delight. i want, even, to see the twinkle of mischief.
okay, so i lied. i see more than her eyes. i see much chubbier cheeks than i did in the post-surgery pictures from august. today she is absolutely round. oh, how i love that. she is almost unrecognizable from the pictures this summer. oh, how i love that too. perhaps it is the naive american side of me that believes with chubby cheeks comes gerber-baby-good-health. i don't know...but it pleases the mother in me. she is fed. she is eating. those very basic things bring comfort. i also see an unbelievable buzz cut. her head has been shaved. why? we don't know...perhaps lice? well, if that is the case, it is only another reason why she will fit right into the mcnatt family - 2008: the year of the louse. our family was struck that year with at 5 episodes.
in the second picture sent i could see more. she is inside, but incredibly bundled up in a too-big sweater and vest. there is a cold, cement floor beneath her with a few puddles of water behind her. why? after receiving the picture i immediately shot back an email to our agent: "please tell me why there is water on the floor of her room? i need to know." he didn't know. "is it cold there?" he didn't know. i checked the weather report in guangzhou city for today...50 degrees this morning.
it is her mouth that is most familiar: those rosebud lips resting just above what looks like an impressive double chin. oh, that the time would pass quickly until we receive a kiss from those very lips...until her mouth moves to form the treasured word, "mama."
please, Lord, make these months swift.
there is so much still awaiting a stamp of approval. we want only to bring her home before this baby face alters any further. but for today, we are just so very thankful to finally see her again. since august, we've had absolutely no update, no pictures, no news....nothing. when i opened the email from our agent yesterday it was like striking gold. the attachment read, "update and two pictures." the download bar has never crept more slowly across the screen. but there she finally was; large eyes, chubby cheeks and a terrible haircut. it was all so wonderful....well, maybe not the haircut. those eyes seemed to penetrate right through my computer screen from china to georgia.
remember that list of questions we were supposed to come up with last month? well, after our initial 500, we had finally narrowed it down to a scant twenty. we whisked those questions off via our nashville agent, somewhat skeptical, but hoping desperately for a response. weeks passed. we heard nothing. but yesterday the original document we sent came back with neatly typed answers to each of those questions. we still don't know who provided the information. we don't know their name, their credentials or their qualifications. but we are deeply thankful for even this glimpse into bella grace xue's world. it is nothing monumental or dramatic. it is only a whisp of information...barely a start. but it is something. and in this elusive world of international adoption, it is gold. pure gold.
so, friends, add it up: large eyes, chubby cheeks, a terrible, wonderful haircut and twenty answers. this is what we have in our hands today. this is our treasure for the moment. this is what allows us to feel wealthy in our hope and wild in our love for this little girl living in a land across oceans.